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St. Patrick wasn’t Irish.

St. Patrick was actually British, born to Roman parents in either present-day Scotland or Wales (no one is exactly sure which). He’s associated with Ireland because he was one of the first people to bring Christianity to the country in the fifth century, around the year 432.

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Saint Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn Succat.

This is according to Irish legend. He changed it to Patricius after becoming a priest.

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Americans rack up a pretty significant bar tab.

On St. Patrick’s Day 2017, total U.S. spending at bars and retailers was estimated to be a whopping $5.3 billion, with the average person spending $37.92. But it wasn’t always such a party holiday

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A shamrock symbolizes hope, love and faith.

St. Patrick reportedly used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity, but later interpretations also said the three leaves are meant to symbolize hope, love and faith. If there’s a fourth leaf, it symbolizes luck, which is why we consider four-leaf clovers to be lucky.

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There are more Irish people in America than in Ireland.

According to 2017 census data, there are 39.6 million Americans who list their heritage as primarily or partially Irish, compared to 6.3 million people in Ireland.


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St. Patrick probably didn’t drive snakes out of Ireland.

Some Irish legends claim that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland when he arrived. Historians and biologists say this probably isn’t true, since there were likely never any snakes in Ireland to begin with, but we’ll let St. Paddy have this one.

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Chicago dyes the river green every year for St. Patrick’s Day.

Every year since 1962, the city dyes the river green using 40 pounds of powder, which reacts with the water to produce a green color. Don’t worry, it’s environmentally-friendly!